This is what I chose and I suppose it came with a price. I chose to go back to the Kotel to pray again. After Shabbat. To see if it was lonely. Quiet Jimmy, the world resting on his shoulders, also decided to visit the Wall again. The rest of the group went out for drinks, laughter, bonding and Doggie Style Hot Dogs. Yes, that really is the name of the place and yes, there were some pretty funny (drunk) pictures that came from it! If they were in my possession, I would post them!
They are not in my possession, though. I went to the Wall again because I wanted to see it without the Shabbat crowd. It was late, around 11 p.m. There was still an impressive group there davening. However, there was not the sea of black hats, dancing and singing. Surprisingly, there were almost more women this time. Saying goodbye to Shabbat. Crying tears of separation. Pouring out their hopes and dreams. Opening themselves to G-d.
The women were so close in proximity to each other that I literally could not get to the stones or even a stone. I moved to the far, far right, behind a little staircase and patiently waited. In this little corner, at the very end, it was dark, quiet and a little bit more private. As the young girl left her spot, I slipped in.
There was room for me to press my entire body against the Wall. I opened my book of Psalms to the correct day and read from it. Slowly. I closed my eyes, place my forehead on the stone and had my private conversations. Then I kissed the stone.
--yes, me the germaphobe--
And I said my goodbye because I knew I would not be back again on this trip to Israel. I stepped away. Walked backwards so as not to turn my back on it and met up with Jimmy to take a cab back to the hotel.
I met a St. Louisian in Jerusalem who was with another group who told me that the Wall is idolatry. If so, then so is nature. So is shul. So is childbirth. So are all the places and circumstances and things that heighten our awareness of the Divine. Her words and disgust at the Wall did not cheapen my experience. It is not idolatry. No one is worshipping the Wall.
It is simply a place that inspires and beckons me to open myself to receive G-d who is searching for me.